Process window for electron beam melting of 316LN stainless steel

Stefan Roos, Lars-Erik Rännar

Sports Tech Research Centre, Department of Quality Management and Mechanical Engineering, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden


Electron beam melting (EBM) is currently hampered by the low number of materials available for processing. This work presents an experimental study of process parameter development related to EBM processing of stainless steel alloy 316LN. Area energy (AE) input and beam deflection speed were varied to produce a wide array of samples in order to determine which combination of process parameters produced dense (>99%) material. Both microstructure and tensile properties were studied. The aim was to determine a process window which results in dense material. The range of AE which produced dense materials was found to be wider for 316LN than for many other reported materials, especially at lower scanning speeds. Tensile and microstructural analysis showed that increasing the beam deflection rate, and consequently lowering the AE, resulted in material with a smaller grain size, lower ductility, lower yield strength, and a narrower window for producing material that is neither porous nor swelling.